Mike Munoz: Design process reveals value in all district's schools

"Choice" schools aren't better than neighborhood schools. In fact, we have learned through the attendance area design process just how much neighborhood schools are desired and valued.

What we knew going into the process is that we have exceptional schools. All of our schools have safe and welcoming learning environments. Our test scores shine in the state of Minnesota. And we focus on individuals from birth through adulthood with our vast array of programs. We truly believe all students can achieve success at Rochester Public Schools.

We began this process with the goal of achieving efficiency within our facilities while hopefully assisting in decreasing some of our busing times, as well as offering our families more options, or choices. What we have learned is the term "choice" has created an implied notion that the school is somehow better than a neighborhood, or "non-choice," school. A more representative name for our "choice schools" is "districtwide option." You can go to your neighborhood school, or there are districtwide options that offer a different method of curriculum delivery throughout the district. A school that is a districtwide option offers another option for families.

The attendance area design process has been one that has been met with a great deal of passion exhibited by a wide variety of stakeholders. As your superintendent, I am charged with the responsibility of looking at this through a district lens while putting the needs of all of our students as the paramount priority. The mission statement of our district demands we "inspire, challenge and empower all students with the knowledge and skills required to reach their full potential, to contribute to future generations, and to become involved members of a global community."

It takes the whole community, parents, teachers, administrators, volunteers, mentors and more to help each child, innocent and wholly deserving of success, to learn and expand skill sets to achieve success.


As anyone who attended an input session can attest to, the attendance area process has produced productive and insightful conversation. This process has affirmed to me that we have engaged students, families, staff and community members.

In our district we demand success for all of our students. I am extremely proud of our commitment to continue to build upon the deep levels of experience and expertise that we see displayed every day by our talented and dedicated staff and volunteers.

This has been an enriching and engaging process. I look forward to continuing to capture this energy to keep our district progressing forward.

Mike Munoz is superintendent of Rochester Public Schools.

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